31 Dec 2015

Portglenone To Kick Start 2016

Portglenone Casements and Geraldines are aiming to start their new season off with a bang and get into a healthier and better lifestyle.

For 10 weeks on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays there will be sessions with qualified instructors.

The Building Better Lives scheme is in partnership with Bannside Pharmacy and Sport NI.

All details are listed on the poster below.


Next Monday (4th January) is the deadline for registering your place on Derry GAA's Coaching Days that are planned over two Saturdays (9th and 16th) in January. They are all structured to give club coaches and key personnel advice and information as look to plan their 2016 season.

Attendance is free-of-charge to all those working with Derry clubs but you need to book your place with Ashleen McCaul before Monday.


The outline of the proposed workshops are as follows:


9:30am – Arrive
10:00am – 11:00am – Strength and Conditioning with Eoin Bradley (Focus on getting your club teams ready to train)
11:00am – 12:00pm – Stats and Performance Analysis with Ben McGuckin
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Lunch
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Nutrition with Sharon Madigan
2:00pm – 3:00pm – Injury Prevention with Ann Boylan
3:00pm – 3:30pm – Guidelines on dealing with Concussion – Ruairi Convery
3:30pm – 4:00pm – County Senior Team Schedule, Programme and Information for Clubs – Damian Barton and Brian McGuckin

9:30am – Arrive
10:00am – 11:00am – Strength and Conditioning with Eoin Bradley (Focus on Weights and Plyometrics and ‘drawing up a programme’)
11:00am – 12:00pm – Video Analysis with Ben McGuckin
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Lunch
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Nutrition and Lifestyle with Sharon Madigan (Practical Session)
2:00pm – 3:00pm – Injury Prevention with Ann Boylan
3:00pm – 3:30pm – Academy – Benefits for Clubs – Philip Kerr and Danny Quinn

30 Dec 2015


As clubs across the country are planning for the 2016 season and senior managers are holding meetings to set out their stall there will be something different this January.  A group of people missing.

The use of minor players on adult football and hurling teams has changed based on rules passed at the recent GAA congress.  Next season U17 players, in their first year of minor (born in 1999) won't be allowed to play for senior or reserve teams (see motion 50 below).  

For those in their final year of minor (born 1998) they are open to play for their club adult teams but there is different ruling for county minors.  Any U18 on a county minor panel won't be allowed to play for their adult club teams until their county season is over (motion 51 below).

To sum up:
  • U17s (born 1999) cannot play adult football or hurling. 
  • U18s (born 1998) can play as usual
  • U18s (born 1998) on county minor panels cannot play adult football or hurling until their county season is over.

A few years ago Ryan Bell won a senior championship for Ballinderry as an U17 player and last season Slaughtneil hurling manager Michael McShane had access to U17 player Brian Cassidy.  These scenarios were a regular occurrence in other clubs and counties but now are a thing of the past.

It will be a welcome move from the point of view of burnout and physios will be a lot happier as players won't be under the same pressure.  Also during exam season it will be a welcome help in terms of revision time as players will have one less iron in the fire.

The other side of the coin is a serious one though.  Those smaller clubs who simply need minors to survive.  The club managers here will be not be happy as they will have reduced options.  It is sure to create controversy in the first year but all clubs are in the same boat.  

Maybe another knock on effect is that adult players on the fringes of senior teams will get a better chance to develop.  They won't be looking over the shoulder as the next minor star comes looking for his position.  It all makes for an interesting year ahead.

Another motion (motion 52) to just have provincial winners enter the All-Ireland series was rejected in favour of keeping the inter county back door at minors.  Ulster still remains the only province where a county only gets a second bite at the cherry unless they get to the final at Clones in July.  The other three councils have a system where all counties get a second chance.

An interesting fact from 2005 when Down won the All-Ireland minor title, all four provincial minor champions were beaten at the All-Ireland Quarter Final stage.

MINOR REVIEW COMMITTEE MOTIONS (Motions 50-54) - The following five motions are all from the Minor Review Committee. 

Motion 50: Proposes that the age of eligibility to play senior club football and hurling be raised from over 16 to over 17, and for inter-county from over 16 to over 18. At U21 level, it proposes that club players be over 16 and that inter-county players be over 18. (Minor Review Committee). PASSED

Motion 51: Proposes that a player on an inter-county minor panel shall not play in adult club league competitions/challenge games until his inter-county activity for the year is concluded. (Minor Review Committee). PASSED

Motion 52: This motion proposes the removal of the All-Ireland Minor Championship quarter-finals, and would provide for the four provincial minor champions to proceed directly to the All-Ireland semi-finals. (Minor Review Committee). REJECTED

Motion 53: This motion relates to the dates when provincial minor championships should commence. (Minor Review Committee). PASSED

Motion 54: This motion gives second level schools 'first call' on players involved with a county minor or U21 panel until such time that their competitive involvement with their school team is concluded. (Minor Review Committee). REJECTED


Derry fans will get the perfect opportunity to see the early stages of the new look Derry football team as all three group games in the 2016 Dr McKenna Cup will take place in Owenbeg. With a new sponsor and a new manager it is the start of a new era in the county. 

With the ‘season ticket’ option available for all games up to and including the final, it could be the perfect Christmas present for Derry fans with all games on their doorstep. Like all county managers, Damian Barton will welcome the chance to get a look at all his players ahead of the league campaign. 

One of Barton’s big targets for the league will be to establish a new midfield pairing after the retirement of Bellaghy’s Fergal Doherty. The upcoming replacement in the long term would have been Conor Glass but he will be jetting off to link up with Hawthorn and will be a huge loss to Derry and his club Glen. 

After St Patrick’s Maghera’s recent dominance, Glen’s underage conveyor belt, Derry minors are current Ulster champions with also Ballinderry and Slaughtneil winning the Ulster Club in recent times the future is bright in the county. With state of the art facilities now in place at Owenbeg, it is time for Derry to step up and realise their potential. 

Former Derry defender Tony Scullion is calling on the new breed of Derry players to come to the fore. Speaking at the Derry Awards Dinner last week the four time all-star appealed strongly to the younger regeneration of Derry players. “We need you. We need you to step up and over the next twenty years is when you should be enjoying playing.” 

The Ballinascreen man was the worthy recipient of the An Curadh Mhir and he made a passionate appeal to the clubs of Derry. “We are all very proud club people but I appeal that everyone puts their shoulder to the wheel for the county. There are a lot of club chairmen in the room here, if there are any men in your club that are capable of playing for the county, don’t stop them, get them up the road to Owenbeg,” appealed a very passionate Scullion. 

With the first NFL against Fermanagh also fixed for Owenbeg, the McKenna Cup is the perfect dress rehearsal to start the league on a positive note. 

Derry’s Fixtures 
* Sunday 3rd January – Derry v Antrim 
* Sunday 10th January – Derry v Tyrone 
* Wednesday 13th January – Derry v Queens 
* Sunday 17th January – Semi Finals 
* Saturday 23rd January – Final 
* Sunday 31st January – NFL v Fermanagh


Derry Coaching Games Manager Chris Collins is putting together the next underage development venture for early 2016 in the form of U12 Football on Friday nights in February and March. This is following on from last season’s Go Games and will give youngsters a great opportunity to practice their skills over the winter. 

The action will take place at the state of the art Meadowbank Arena in Magherafelt and provides a sheltered and safe environment for the stars of the future to develop their skills and get active in preparation for the season ahead. 

Some clubs in the county struggle to avail of facilities for coaching during this period, so this is a welcome opportunity to perfect the simple basic fundamentals of kicking and catching. 
Perhaps every household in the county will swap a PlayStation game for a football this Christmas so everyone can get a head start. Imagine the difference you could make if you arrived at the Go Games in 2016 being able to perform the overhead catch and kick off both feet. There may be some dash knocked of the walls or the occasional broken window. 

From reading Tómas Ó’Sé’s book recently he commented “if I were on my own as a kid I’d be out there with a ball, aiming at the pipes [on side of house] or practice my fielding off the wall, timing my jump or practising my frees.” He also commented on having only two channels on the television back then too. How times have changed. 

This was the basic coaching done on his own by a man who went on to play at the highest level possible. Perhaps parents reading this will use their time over Christmas to get some of the fundamentals started. 

As for the clubs, check the dates below and start planning for your 2022 senior team now. You reap when you sow. Seven Friday nights in the winter for youngsters to gather, socialise, have a bit of craic and you never know, an all-star might be born out of it. 

The scheduled dates are: 
* Friday 12th February 
* Friday 19th February 
* Friday 26th February 
* Friday 4th March 
* Friday 11th March 
* Friday 18th March 
* Friday 25th March 

This is open to all clubs, games will be 9 a side and clubs can enter a maximum of 3 teams. So even if you have a sizeable panel, everyone should be able to get plenty of action. The more touches and involvement a player can get the better. It is £10 per team per week to enter but clubs must be committed to attend on all the dates listed. 

Following on from the recent appeal for referees, one of the stipulations is that each club must provide a young whistler. Perhaps there is someone in your club going GCSE PE at school who is using refereeing as part of their practical skills. 

For more information contact Chris at Owenbeg on 028 777 42990 or drop him an email chris.collins.gm.derry@gaa.ie

28 Dec 2015

GAA Fixtures Survey

With all the debate about various aspects of GAA fixtures in recent weeks we have put together a short questionnaire relating to fixtures, the backdoor and other issues.

It won't take long to fill in and we will publicise the findings at a later stage on this blog.

It is anonymous so we are interested in hearing what your views are.


Among new Dungiven chairman Kieran McKeever's first jobs is to appoint a senior football manager to replace Kevin Madden who departed at the end of last season.

In an advert on the club's website McKeever and new secretary Mary K Burke are seeking nominations before Friday 8th January.

Elsewhere it is expected that county champions Slaughtneil will have Mickey Moran and Mickey McShane back in charge of their senior football and hurling teams for next season.


Derry Hurling manager Tom McLean
PIC Sportsfile
The footballers and hurlers of Derry will get their 2016 season under way this weekend with games in the Conor McGurk and McKenna Cups.

While the rest of us were availing of the seasonal festivities Derry have been working away in the background following their Strength & Conditioning programmes to put the building blocks in place for the season ahead.

Derry hurling champions Slaughtneil will this time have a representation on the county squad with Sean Cassidy, Mark McGuigan, Oisin and Cormac O'Doherty among those who have linked up with Tom McLean's new regime.  After last year's defeat in the Christy Ring Cup Final, there will be a desire to go one step further.

In football Damian Barton has already had one runout against Tyrone in the O'Fiaich Cup and the word from the camp was that fitness was the early season focus.  Antrim are in a similar mould and videos of their players being out through their paces at Brian Magee's gym have been posted on social media by Antrim's new PR drive.

Conor McGurk Cup (Senior Hurling)
Saturday 1.30pm Donegal Vs Derry at The Dub, Belfast

McKenna Cup (Senior Football)
Sunday 2pm - Derry v Antrim at Owenbeg


Michael Warnock accepts the Paddy McLarnon Cup in 2015
PIC - Creggan Twitter
Reigning Ulster U21 champions Glen open the defence of the Paddy McLarnon Cup against Down champions Clonduff.  

The championship is hosted by Antrim club Creggan and the draw was made on Sunday night in Creggan's clubrooms.

In Donegal the final has not been played yet.  Kilcar are down to play St Eunan's but this game will be on hold until after the Letterkenny lads play their Ulster Minor final against Crossmaglen.

Here is a link to Jerome Quinn's video of the draw.  CLICK HERE...


  • St John's (Antrim) v Ramor Utd (Cavan)
  • Cullyhanna (Armagh) v Donaghmore (Tyrone)
  • Glen (Derry) v Clonduff (Down)
  • Kilcar/St Eunan's v Magheracloone (Monaghan)

23 Dec 2015

U17 Goalkeepers Required

Underage goalkeepers seem to be in short supply in the county at the moment and with the recent development in kick out techniques the position is becoming one of the most important in the game nowadays.  

After reading both Rory Kavanagh and Jimmy McGuinness over the holiday break it became even more apparrent the emphasis put on both Cluxton and Durcan's kick outs was central to both game plans.  The man between the sticks is now a central figure in any team.

The Derry U17 football development squad are looking for goalkeepers for the Ulster league next season. The games will be played as double headers with the Ulster Minor League.  The panel will be training on one of the minor training nights, with a similar strength & conditioning programme to be made available.  There will be a direct link with the minor panel.

Anyone interested should contact:

Paddy Downey - 07591116900
John McErlain - 07740912140
Chris Collins - 07843232208

Michael McMullan - 07779159787

Players must be born in 1999 (i.e. be in their first year of minor).  The aim of this squad is to develop players for the 2017 county minor squad.

Derry SFC to revert to knockout?

After the findings of the GRC (Games Review Committee) it is understood that one of the proposals for next season will see the Derry SFC revert to straight knock out.

Another important point is clubs will only lose their county players for 4 games, unless Derry progress to the All Ireland semi finals, with all their players available for two league games before the championship.

Summary of proposals are listed below.

1) Senior Football

  • League – 15 rounds from April to mid August
  • Championship - late August to October
  • Categories of league games – A, B and H
  • Championship – Straight Knock out
  • Reserve league matches before senior games with the option for clubs to play them afterwards on agreement. Four matches to be played before league starts will be selected from games on weekends in which county players won’t be available or mid-week fixtures.
  • Reserve Championship first round to take place Monday after first round of Senior Championship

2) Intermediate Football

  • League – 13 rounds from April to mid August
  • Championship - mid August to October
  • Categories of league games – A and B
  • Championship – Round Robin System
  • 2 x groups of 4 and 2 x groups of 3.
  • Top 2 in each group into the championship quarter finals.
  • Reserve league matches before senior games and leagues to start on same date
  • Reserve Intermediate Championship first round to take place Monday after first round of Intermediate Championship

3) Junior Football

  • League – 18 rounds from April to mid August
  • Championship – mid August to October
  • Championship - Back Door (same system as 2015)

4) Hurling

  • League – 10 rounds from April to August
  • Championship – August and September
  • Championship – Straight Knock-out (same system as 2015)
  • Alternative competition during Christy Ring to replace Reserve League
  • Reserve Hurling Championship first round to take place Monday after first round of Senior Hurling Championship

5) Holiday period of 2 weeks - 2nd and 3rd week of July. 

6) Team finishing top of each league wins the league and gains promotion. 

7) Promotion and relegation to be one up and one down in each league with no playoffs.

8) Alternative calendars to be drawn up to reflect the possible progress of Derry Senior county teams in their relevant competitions. 

9) Fixtures to remain on dates and times as sent out before season begins. 

10) All club weddings and major function dates to be sent to CCC (date to be confirmed by CCC). These will then be factored into the games calendar prior to release. 

11) Intermediate and Junior Championship matches to be played before Senior Championship matches. 

McGuckin planning for 2016

New Derry camogie manager Sean McGuckin is already planning for the 2016 season as he aims to get his panel together.  Speaking in The Irish News this week the Swatragh man is looking for players interested in playing to for county to come forward ahead of trial games planned for January

Any player wishing to represent the Derry camogie team to contact Sean McGuckin mcguckinplumbing@hotmail.co.uk by Tuesday 29th December at 9pm.

The trials will take place on Wednesday 6th January, Sunday 10th January and Wednesday 13th January.

McGuckin was manager when Swatragh won the Fr Collins Cup in 2012. His management team consists of Michael McCullagh who had a previous stint under Brian McGilligan with Derry hurlers.  The third of the trio is Tony Austin who has at Mageean success with St Mary's Belfast.

22 Dec 2015

St Colm's Draperstown Feature


If you look through the St Colm’s Draperstown prospectus it’s impossible not to notice a group photo of one of their sporting teams at Cookstown’s Mid Ulster Sports Arena celebrating success. The emotion and joy is there for all to see. Happy children are an important component of any successful school.

On the previous double page spread there is a section entitled ‘beyond the classroom’ depicting all the extra-curricular activities on offer at St Colm’s. In the school, study is fundamental and last term Barry Grant left the school with three A* Grades, is currently now studying accountancy but he was also able pick up an Ulster title with Derry minors. With time management, commitment and hard work it can be done.

Their school mission statement is ‘Believe and Achieve’ and despite trailing reigning champions Clady going into stoppage time in last month’s Derry U16 final Ciaran Meenagh’s young charges must have still believed. They never gave up hope and when Noel Rafferty hit the net with the last kick they certainly achieved. 

There are more tales of this as and we caught up with ‘Mr Meenagh’ who gave us an insight into the sporting life in St Colm’s. He may be from Loughmacrory and a Tyrone All-Ireland medal winner but after thirteen years he is very much part of the furniture at the foot of the Sperrins.

He is the first to acknowledge the support he has in the school. “When I arrived here Paul McCaffrey was helping me but Benny Heron is a massive addition to the school this year and is a fantastic role model for the boys. Fiona [Devlin] is very well assisted by Patsy McElwee with Camogie and Sheilah Molloy with the ladies football. Also Philomena Cassidy in the school office is a tremendous help and gives us great support.”

In many ways those involved in school coaching are only topping up what players have picked up with their club, a point not lost on Meenagh. “In terms of facilities and moral support both Ballinascreen and Desertmartin are very supportive. However, most importantly they are bedrocks where the pupils learn their trade and are a key factor in our schools success and rich sporting tradition.”

Some of these people from the local club have gone on to represent their county and have been great ambassadors for the school. “In football we had Tony Scullion, Benny Murray and John Francis Bradley. Current Derry Hurlers Paul Cleary and Aaron Kelly are recent past pupils and Barry Grant and Conor McGovern were on last year’s Ulster Minor winning team.”

It may be a strange question for a Tyrone man but when asked about how the school contributes to GAA in the county but he pointed out their inclusiveness. “We work really hard to provide Gaelic Games to all our pupils. We are reluctant to pick panels and children who would otherwise maybe not participate at some of the bigger schools see action and develop their game at St Colm's.”

Anyone who knows Loughmacrory will know it’s background in handball, a sport Meenagh himself excelled at and this influence has followed him to Derry. “One-Wall Handball is very popular among our pupils. We have 4 official size one-walls erected in the sports hall which prove very popular each day for lunchtime activities. We also enter the provincial one-wall handball competitions in Year 9 and 11.”

With the camogie and hurling teams already competing at Ulster College level, Meenagh explains that next season the footballers will be joining as well. “We have been playing College Hurling now for five years to give the boys more competitive games. The Camogie scene has integrated under the one banner for some time now and the boy’s football will be follow suit from next year on. Therefore, from next year on we will be playing a grade of college football.”

Like any organisation, the drive will always come from the top. “We are very fortunate to have a Principal who appreciates the role GAA and sport plays in the development of our children. It is getting more and more difficult. Together with tighter financial constraints, schools are also under more pressure than ever to deliver academically and teachers have targets to meet. This leaves it more difficult to get pupils out of class as there are now more modular exams and controlled assessment tasks than ever and teachers can’t afford to have pupils out of the class too much but Mrs McKenna is very supportive of sport.”

So linking in again with the ‘Believe and Achieve’ theme we asked Meenagh what was the GAA highlight in the school to date. “It would have been our senior camogie team winning the All-Ireland C title in 2009. The boys teams have won numerous county titles in recent times, this year have won the U16 and U14 double. Personally a highlight is being involved in nine county finals at U14 and U16 level and I have yet to lose.” 

On the back of Ballinascreen’s excellent underage work Meenagh also highlights the success in hurling “Our Hurling teams are one of the most successful in Vocational schools hurling and are current champions at U14 and U16 level.”

It was great to get an insight in the GAA working of St Colm’s but looking into the future is there anything he would look for? “We haven’t been able to beat the bigger vocational school teams like Holy Trinity Cookstown, St Ciaran’s Ballygawley and St Malachy’s Castlewellan who have pipped us in several semi-finals.” Perhaps that is the next step in the St Colm’s Draperstown story. You always have to keep looking forward so we’ll watch out for the progress over the next few years.

As the U14 and U16s boys plan ahead to their Ulster campaign and the 450 pupils look forward to the Christmas break you can be sure that next term the halls of St Colm’s will be full of budding young handballers. The pitches will be as busy as ever. The feeder clubs who started these children off on their GAA journey will know that in St Colm’s the association is alive and well. A happy school is always a successful one.

21 Dec 2015

Doherty looks to the future in Portglenone

Dermot McAleese receives the U21 cup from Collie Donnelly
(Pic - Antrim Website)
New Antrim chairman Collie Donnelly presented his first piece of silverware to Portglenone winning captain Dermot McAleese after his side's 3-10 to 1-9 win over Rossa in the U21 B Championship final.

McAleese was man of the match and central to everything Portglenone were involved in and will have a huge part to play in Antrim's bid to get out of NFL division four.

In the midfield diamond McAleese was well supported by Peter Duffin and the Delargy brothers - Ronan and Conall.

Speaking to the club's website winning manager Owen Doherty was full of praise for his team. 

 "Our big boys around the middle stood up today, but that’s what we expect from those guys. But it was the never say die attitude of younger, unsung, emerging players like goalkeeper Ryan O'Neill, Conor McGhee, Caolan Tierney, Stephen Kelly, Michael Hagan and John Lewis, as well as others. Our club has plenty to look forward to if we can nurture this talent. They have done us proud again.”

Portglenone: Ryan O'Neill, Conor Mc Ghee, John Lewis, Declan Lennon, Ryan McGirr, Ronan Delargy, Stephen Kelly, Dermot Mc Aleese 0-1, Conall Delargy 1-2, Caolan Tierney, Peter Duffin 0-1,Michael Kelly 0-1, Michael Hagan 1-2, Brian Mc Manus 1-3, Anthony Webb. 
Subs Kelvin Loughlin & Jimmy Convery.

Rossa: Colm Walsh, Niall Devlin, Conor Mc Gowan, James Cooley, Niall Crossan 0-1, Richard Gowdy 0-1, Aidan Orchid, Gerard Walsh, Conall Mc Veigh, Padraig Mc Greevy, Sean Pat Donnelly 0-1, Declan Murphy 0-1, Chris Boyle, Gavin Mc Grath 1-2, Darren Grego 0-2.

Antrim GAA receive a Christmas Bonus

Antrim GAA received a timely boost to the tune of £800,000 towards their development project at Dunsilly.  Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has announced the funding and it will contribute towards construction of changing facilities, car parking and fencing at the venue on the outskirts of Antrim Town.

Antrim GAA is contributing a further £105,000 towards the project, which is due for completion by August 2016.  This is much needed injection into the Antrim GAA scene as currently county teams don't have a training base. 

As well as a venue for county terms to train, and a base for Development squads it will be home to the local St Comghall's GAC.  With it's central local and proximity to the M2 motorway it will be a useful resource for school teams as often they have to travel to Cookstown and Garvaghy for games with the unavailability of a more suitable neutral venue.

Carn Wheelers Youth Events

Maghera based cycling club Carn Wheelers will host their annual youth trip on 29th December with all the young cyclists going to watch the Belfast Giants in action at the SSE Arena in Belfast.

Before that the young riders from the club will take part in a Santa cycle at 10am on Christmas Eve morning.

Portglenone Charity Fun Run

The Geraldine's camogie club in Portglenone are organising a Fun Run on St Stephen's Day in aid of Action Cancer.

It takes place in Portglenone Forest at 10am and is suitable for everyone and refreshments will be provided.

Ulster League entry deadline

The Ulster Council have announced their deadline for clubs to enter the 2016 Ulster Club league.

The popularity has dwindled in recent years as clubs see travelling as a burden but some managers see it as a perfect opportunity to get meaningful challenge games.

Clubs need to have their entry by 1pm on Friday 8th January.

It commences on Sunday 31st January.

  • Sunday 31st January – Round 1
  • Sunday 7th February – Round 2
  • Sunday 14th February – Round 3
  • Sunday 21st February – Round 4
  • Sunday 28th February – Round 5
  • Sunday 6th March – Playoffs
  • Sunday 13th March – Semi Finals
  • Sunday 20th March – Finals

Details and application forms on http://ulster.gaa.ie/2015/12/2016-ulster-club-football-league/

McKeever steps into the boardroom

Pic - Irish Examiner website
In his day Kieran McKeever was one of the best defenders in Ireland.  An All-Ireland winning with Derry in 1993, Ulster winning captain in 1998 and 2 Ulster hurling titles with Derry were among the many awards the teak tough defender won during his playing career.  

He also won championships in both codes with his club Dungiven culminating in an Ulster Club football title in 1997 under the stewardship of Eugene Kelly.

Noted for his exploits on the pitch, McKeever has taken a different direction after his recent election as Chairman of St Canice's Dungiven.  He takes over from popular chairman Colm McGuigan.

Slaughtneil land 4th Ulster Title

Proinsias Burke collects the cup
(Pic Mark Doherty)
Slaughtneil's season eventually came to an end yesterday at a windswept Ballinascreen as they saw off Antrim champions Dunloy to retain their Ulster Minor Hurling title, a fourth in all.

With the breeze at their backs Slaughtneil landed seven second half points and kept Dunloy scoreless.  This is only half the story though.

In the first half the groundwork for victory was done.  It was gritty but equally effective as Slaughtneil got stuck in, hunted in packs and went in 0-5 to 0-4 ahead at half time.

This was highly significant and deep down Dunloy would have knew this.  In the second half with Mark Glass continuing to be the rock of the defence and Liam Cassidy the effective ball winner Slaughtneil built on their lead with points from Proinsias Burke and Brian Cassidy.

Defenders Mark Glass and Sean Cassidy chipped in with points as Slaughtneil continued to dominate and saw the game out winning 0-12 to 0-4 in the end.

The 1998 and 1999 group completed the double and now this team has followed suit with an Ulster double and has been mentioned as the best team the club has ever had.  Like the crop in the 90's they won football titles along the way as well.  

So after a very productive season landing Derry Minor Hurling, Derry Minor football the Ulster Hurling is a brilliant conclusion.  Next on the horizon is the transition into senior but for now the lights are off at Emmet Park and the Christmas season takes over.  

Photos by Mark Doherty - CLICK HERE...

Slaughtneil: Francis McEldowney, Ciaran McGuigan, Mark Glass (0-1), Keelan Feeney, Jerome McGuigan, Ruairi McCartney, Sean Cassidy (0-1), Proinsias Burke (0-5, three frees), Conor McAllister, Brian Cassidy (0-4), Conan Hunter (0-1), Sean O'Doherty, Liam Cassidy, Shane McGuigan, James McCloskey.

Subs: Michael McEldowney for James McCloskey, Dermot Donnelly for Ciaran McGuigan.
Dunloy: Ryan Elliott, Caolan McCurry, Conor Kinsella, Adam Mullan, Deaglan Smyth, Geoffrey Og Laverty, Cathair McGuigan, Keelan Molloy, Ciaran Elliott, Ewan Dixon, Michael McMullan, Eoin O'Neill (0-2), Anton McGrath, Conal Cunning (0-1), Seaan Elliott (0-1).
Subs: Caoimhin Crawford for Michael McMullan, Ronan Molloy for Anton McGrath, Eamon Smyth for Eoin O’Neill.

Referee: Owen Elliott (Ballymena)